Avoiding greenhouse gases to protect the climate is essential for survival. But in negotiations like those at the COP28 global climate conference, one thing is often overlooked: nature. There are dangers and solutions there.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) believes that nature’s role in protecting the planet is not sufficiently appreciated. “We know that the planet is in critical condition,” said IUCN Director General Grethel Aguilar to the German Press Agency.
“What is often overlooked is how closely the biodiversity crisis is linked to the climate crisis.” That’s why she’s at the world climate conference COP28 in Dubai, which is supposed to decide on measures against the climate crisis. “Decision makers must understand that conservation must be a priority for a livable future and that this requires equitable, nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change,” said Aguilar.
More than 12,000 species threatened
During her visit to the World Climate Conference, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) also emphasized that nature conservation must be taken into account when combating the climate crisis. She also called for a corresponding mention in the final text of the conference. Oceans, ecosystems and the global water cycle must be stabilized.
More than 12,000 species are threatened by climate change, Aguilar said. The loss of species that cannot adapt quickly enough to climate change destabilizes ecosystems. Food chains would be broken. In weakened ecosystems, alien species spread more easily, accelerating the decline of native species. “People depend on healthy ecosystems,” she said.
“But there is hope,” Aguilar said. Many solutions often lie in nature itself. “It is no coincidence that indigenous peoples live where the greatest biological diversity can be found. This is because they have successfully protected and maintained these areas for generations,” said Aguilar.
Natural solutions would be the renaturation of damaged landscapes, such as reforestation. Trees could not only bind climate-damaging CO2, but also ensure healthy soils and thus space for biological diversity. Restoring mangroves – trees that grow in coastal waters in the tropics – protects residents from rising sea levels and creates biotopes for fish and other animals.
The IUCN supports wind and solar energy as sustainable solutions, Aguilar said. However, such systems could pose a danger to marine life and bird species. Such effects would have to be minimized through clever location determinations. The IUCN in Gland near Geneva is an umbrella organization of governmental and non-governmental organizations for nature conservation. It publishes the Red List of Threatened Species.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.